Wilfred Westley was an Estate Agent from Hammersmith in London. He claimed 9 attempts on the Channel between 1954 and 1959 but swims of 1954 and 1955 cannot be verified. He got permission from the Borough council to train for a Channel swim in Fulham Baths in 1953, with the intention of a first attempt in August 1954. His last was 1959
In January 1963 Westley announced he was organising a Channel Race with two trophies to be awarded for swimmers from the world’s military. It was to take place on July 29 1963 – “I am writing to governments and inviting them to send their best men. The only condition is that the swimmers should be members of the military forces. Let’s have the armies of the world settling their disputes in something that’s healthy and worthwhile.” No such race took place
In 1964 he set himslf up as a Channel swim trainer and advertised in the papers for channel aspirants – 2 women applied, Rita Swann and Ann Pinkham. His training regime of one lesson a week in his local pool was widely ridiculed, including by Sam Rockett in Folkestone. Neither girl ever made an attempt.
He was a member of the Channel Swimming Association but was in constant argument with them over the rules. Westley wanted hardly any rules and became insistent that relay swims shoud have no limit on numbers of team members or how long they swam for
Finally, in 1965 the CSA expelled him. He immediately founded the English Channel Swimming Association with himself as Secretary. The ECSA would recognize all claims without verification and allow relay teams with unlimited members. It was roundly condemned, including by the CSA and the BLDSA
The ECSA was still active in 1971 but it and Westley fade into obscurity after that.
A CANDIDATE FOR THE CHANNEL TRIP: 35 year-old Mr. Wilfred Westley of Cromwell Grove. Hammersmith, who did not learn to swim until he was 20, is soon to begin all-out training for an attempt to swim the Channel sometime next year. He has received permission from the Fulham Borough Council to practice long distance swimming on Sundays at Fuham Swimming Baths
27 November 1953 – West London Observer
Wilfred Westley. Aged 35 and a free lance estate agent, Mr. Westley, who lives in Cromwell Grove, Hammersmith, takes a radio-set with him when training to swim the Channel at Fulham Baths. Will attempt about August time
05 March 1954 – West London Observer
30 swimmers have already notified the CSA of their intention to attempt the crossing this summer. Among them will be five Englishmen and a girl. They are Ronald Tarr, an 18 years old student, of Maida Vale, London: Wilfred Westley, aged 35, a Hammersmith estate agent: Wilfred Pickering. a baths superintendent. of Bloxwich (Staffs.); Eddie Thomas, a 20 years old hotel manager, and Peter Allsworth, a builder’s storeman
24 May 1955 – Coventry Evening Telegraph